NTT's Accelerate Smart initiative aims to strengthen safety measures and improve data analytics for Indycar.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

August 20, 2020

3 Min Read
NTT revs up Indy 500 with AI and IoT

While fans won't be able to attend the Indianapolis 500 in-person this Sunday, NTT and Indycar are collaborating to deliver a new data experience via the 100-foot wide IMS Media Wall as well as a mobile app for fans to view live streams from the speedway. In addition, NTT's Accelerate Smart initiative aims to strengthen safety measures and improve data analytics for Indycar.

Indycar & NTT's data-driven speedway
NTT, the Official Technology Partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Brickyard 400, has been working with Indycar on its digital transformation on and off the speedway.

"Having a partner like NTT is so important because you bring other assets to the party," said Penske Corporation Chairman Roger Penske in a Zoom meeting this morning. "Every year we need to set the bar a little higher and the technology will take us to the next level."

NTT's Accelerate Smart initiative gathers data from sensors and micro data centers in designated areas through video and sound. The platform also draws from historical data including traffic, weather and social media, plus cognitive analytics and machine learning to identify normal patterns and alert authorities to any abnormalities that could indicate a safety threat to fans, drivers and Indycar staff.

In May, NTT launched this smart initiative in Las Vegas as part of its smart cities pilot program.

Collecting and analyzing data from IoT sensors also improves safety measures for Indycar drivers. "If we have an accident, we can go back and reframe that accident from beginning to end and that will help us improve safety," said Penske.

NTT recently developed a web app so Indycar staff, drivers, team members and race officials can comply with COVID-19 social distancing safety measures. App users fill out online questionnaires and a health assessment to receive a digital pass for entry into the speedway and paddock when combined with their credentials and temperature screenings.

"With the NTT smart platform … it's getting eyes in areas where we didn't have them before," said Rebecca Ruselink, chief information officer for Indycar. "It allows us to be more proactive as opposed to reactive." Ruselink said Indycar is working with NTT to identify a technology roadmap and implement additional social distancing safety measures, such as mobile ordering and cash-less transactions, for when fans are able to return to the speedway.

There's an app for that
Fans can't view the new IMS Media Wall in-person this year but can utilize NTT Data and Indycar's Mobile App for live in-car video feeds, recent news and schedules, driver information, scoring, on-board telemetry and more during the Indy 500 race.

The IMS Media Wall's high-resolution LED display nearly spans the length of the iconic Pagoda building and adds imagery to over 140 data points from each car, live feeds from the track and 3D visuals. NTT says it uses machine learning to identify where cars should be on the track and predict their next moves; AI data locates position battles – where cars close together are changing position – as well as stats such as fastest laps.

The Indy 500 typically draws 300,000 fans to its speedway, but this year only race officials, team members and speedway staff – amounting to about 2,500 people – will be on site for the 104th Indianapolis 500 event.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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